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Doctor Who star Billie Piper is featured in this week’s installment of On the Beat. She’s really on her Insta-game and it caught our eye. In addition to her sharing personal moments with fans, we’d like to put a spotlight on her recent work.

Let’s have a catch-up with this amazing talent:

1. Rare Beasts 

Just last month (August 31), Piper made her directorial debut with Rare Beasts, premiering at the Venice Film Festival. She not only directed, but wrote the script and stars in the anti rom-com. She portrays a single mom named Mandy, whose mind is on getting ahead in her writing career. She comes from a dysfunctional family, which may explain why she is drawn to troubled men. You can also look for Downton Abbey‘s Lily James and Peterloo‘s Leo Bill.

Piper pulled from personal experience when writing the film, saying in an interview with ScreenDaily, “That feels exciting that it comes from a place of truth, but then it’s gone into my mind and been reimagined and dramatized and heightened.”

A theatrical release has yet to be announced, but you’ll be the first to know when it happens.

2. Collateral 

In 2018, Piper popped up in the dramatic miniseries Collateral, opposite Carey Mulligan. The two women take the lead, with Mulligan playing a detective and Piper on the other side of the crime as witness. The story revolves around a pizza delivery man gunned down just outside of London. He was on his way to Karen Mars’ (Piper) home, but he didn’t make it. It’s probably not a coincidence that Mars is the ex-wife of a high-level politician (John Simm). The four-part miniseries unravels the mystery, one suspect at a time. The series first aired on BBC Two and is now available for streaming via Netflix. 

Piper elaborates on her character in this BBC Two interview, saying, “It is Karen who kick-starts this entire story; she gets it all rolling and she is such a great character – a woman of many faces who is beautifully written.”

3. National Theatre Live: Yerma

In 2017, Piper took to the stage, starring in the revival of Federico García Lorca‘s 1934 play Yerma. Piper portrays a woman who desperately yearns to have a baby. We should point out her name, Yerma, means “barren,” which really doesn’t help her cause. She is married, but the two struggle to conceive. Throughout the three-act play she’s given advice like, “Try harder,” or from her own husband, “Give up.” The desire turns into something else, with Yerma committing a vicious crime. Piper won the Best Actress Laurence Olivier Award (similar to Broadway’s Tony Awards) for her performance.

She mused about what it’s like to perform in front of a live audience, saying to The Guardian, “To me, going to the theater every night and putting myself through that process is like a strange sort of drug.”

4. City of Tiny Lights 

Piper teamed up with another Anglo favorite, Riz Ahmed (The Night Of), for 2016’s City of Tiny Lights. Ahmed plays a private investigator in a much darker and grittier London than what we’re used to. He’s hired by a young woman to look for her missing flatmate. Piper plays his love interest/counterpart and possibly… voice of reason.

In an interview with The Evening Standard, Piper talked about why she was drawn to the role, saying, “When I read the script, I fell in love with the fact that it shows London complete with all its many colors and cultures — the real, modern, diverse London I know and love, so often lost in TV dramas and Hollywood movies.”

5. Penny Dreadful 

Piper ended her run on Doctor Who in 2013 and from there made her way to the highly erotic and bloody Penny Dreadful  (2014-2016). Based in Victorian England, the story is a mashup of classic literary characters like Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), his Creature (Rory Kinnear) and the never aging Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), all existing in one realm. Piper stars as the harlot Brona Croft. She’s a struggling Irish immigrant, running from her past.

Piper describes her character in a behind-the-scenes interview: “Brona is a prostitute, who is living with an awful illness, and in spite of all that, has this incredible spirit.”

And, of course, you can always go back to her work on Doctor Who. As she puts it in the below, “#drwho for life!!!!!!”

Do you have a favorite Billie Piper role?? Please share!!

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Filed Under: Billie Piper
By Brigid Brown